Friday, February 5, 2010

OH! Canadaaaaa...

Truth be told, I am more than a bit miffed about the way Canadians are puffing up about the Olympics happening shortly in my original hometown of Vancouver. I am fairly political and as far as I am concerned, this is exactly the time to be standing up for people's rights, not rolling belly up for the sole benefit of catching some of the cheap swag being handed out by the big corps who are leading the whole procession. Don't get me wrong, I am 110% behind anyone who has been devoted enough to their passion to actually make it to the games, and am patriotic enough to care about the Canadians involved... unfortunately though, the past couple of years has meant a whole lot of bad news for anyone not on the upper class end of this bandwagon. Many have been removed from their homes, programs for the area have been pulled while gentrifying the area and a ridiculous amount of money that should have been going to health care and education has been earmarked and overspent for "getting the city and province ready" for said event. Supremely uncool in my book, and yet all of a sudden, in spite of all of this, most people seem to be suddenly catching Olympic fever and rah-rah-rah-ing along with the Coca-Cola anthem.

Having had that rant, some good is coming from the event whether in the form of arts grants such as Legacy Now and the APCD (which funded over 6 million dollars worth of theatre, music, arts and cultural organizations,) to set the stage for the games. There were many artists who were able to tap into the Legacy Now funding to produce merchandise to represent BC while the world comes to visit, and many companies will, I'm sure, be able to expand their networks and their customer bases if the are paying attention.

This week I am tracking down some of the Canadian talent you might want to look for if you are visiting for the Games and are not familiar with those of us North of the American border. Some of us don't define Canadiana as moose heads and antler chandeliers, although I suppose it is true enough that "rustic" has seen more than its share of the spotlight as of late. For today though, we will focus on a more modern approach :)



First off, I can't go further without mentioning a few publications that I know can be difficult to find if you are not in a big city in the rest of the world and might be worth a subscription. I can't truly relate them to Domino or Blueprint, as they are a little less graphicly hip and slightly more sophisticated, but for those of you who are on the desperate hunt for replacement rags for the former, let me introduce you to House and Home and Style at Home magazines. The quality of these magazines have yet to be found (by myself anyway) in most publications and although I loved both Domino and BP, I have always wondered why the photography, styling and substance of other mags didn't quite live up to magazines made by a much smaller publishing company. Maison et Demeure is the french adaptation of House and Home and while I am sure there is some crossover, there is also plenty of ID eye-candy from in and around Canada's french quarter.

Looolo is one of my favourite "comfy things" designers on the market. Based in Montreal, their cushions are just stunning and are something you most likely have seen posted about because they are just so nifty. They are very careful about their impact on the planet as well, which always gets major bonus points from me. They have a waffly blanket that is currently ranked way high on my list of items I am dreaming of...



Molo devises sculptural furniture that is brilliant fun. The design team is made up of architects whose forays into what you can do with kraft paper boggle the mind. They have pieces in MoMA to back up my accusation of genius. I covet their Float champagne and martini glasses.



Fluf Design out of Toronto creates soft products such as pillows, napkins, bags and the like with both a modern aesthetic and a commitment to sustainability. They also make available their textile prints as yardage to the trade, which is pretty brilliant.


Manor12 creates lovely pieces of furniture, pillows and lampshades with funky patterns and designs. I am trying to figure out where I could possibly fit this bench into my apartment...


Centrifuge is one of my favourite places to find accessories that work as tiny pieces of art around the home. Their salt and pepper sets are gorgeous and their crayola pack of modern mailboxes are a welcome walk in another direction for those who are just not happy having their mail contained in "typical" little lunchbox-like contraptions.




Ceramic and glass is brought to new dimensions with aj from Montreal. I adore their cylindrical vases but their mortar and pestle sets are what really had me hooked on them... as are many others in the blogosphere I have noticed. They make a nifty teapot as well... I can't find a web address for them, but they are available for purchase here at Modern Karibou.



Gus Design Group
from Vancouver is represented everywhere so it is easy to track down their most fabulous pieces...




Holtzundmetal is also based out of Vancouver and mixes industrial and sleek into some of the most stunning modern designs on the market. I don't know why these guys have not received more attention...


3 comments:

Three Owls said...

I agree with most of your rant, I have some Cowichan sweater issues with the Games in a big way...don't get me started ( they are having them made overseas...), I am love, loving the furniture and other home yummies....how talented are Canadians?? :)

Lady Ren said...

Wow. I love this furniture. Is that a Hudson's Bay blanket with the grey and black? I sleep under a Hudson's Bay blanket all winter. Love it.

Lise Michaud said...

We need to keep supporting our great Canadian designers! It takes courage to keep doing what they're doing when faced with a market that keeps doling out cheap stuff. Instead of buying a bunch of pieces that will likely end up in a scrap heap in a few years time, why not invest in one gorgeous piece that will last more than one lifetime? We, as Canadians, need to change our mindset, but I think I'm preaching to the converted here. :-)